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At Long Last: IceCube Spots 28 High-Energy Neutrinos 109

Posted by timothy
from the barely-moves-the-windmill dept.
Wired reports that IceCube, the detection facility built just to detect such things, has seen just what it was looking for, even though the researchers involved didn't know it at the time. High-energy neutrinos, the target that IceCube was seeking, weren't showing up as had been hoped, but it turns out that there were quite a few (nearly 30 already, with 2013's data still being recorded) in the three years that the detector has been operating — they just weren't obvious until the data was combed for it. "Most of the 28 high-energy neutrinos so far detected originate from parts of the night sky that don’t include the Milky Way, making it quite likely that they are arriving from a distant source. There are still too few neutrinos to make any specific conclusions about AGNs or gamma-ray bursts, but the IceCube team will continue gathering new data."
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At Long Last: IceCube Spots 28 High-Energy Neutrinos

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  • Post your knot jokes here.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @06:40PM (#45485743) Homepage Journal

    At first I thought these rappers had more on the ball than met the ear.

    Some of the facilities built for detecting particles are pretty fascinating, including one in northern Arizona, where the water is so pure it will corrode a screwdriver to iron oxide within a few days.

    Very cool (no pun intended) observatory. Has it been in James Bond, yet?

  • by Desler (1608317)

    Ive Cube? Pssssh. What has Ice T spotted?

  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @06:47PM (#45485805)

    Is Slashdot powered by Mechanical Turk?

    BAD:

    At Long Last: IceCube Spots 28 High-Energy Neutrinos

    Wired reports that IceCube, the detection facility built just to detect such things, has seen just what it was looking for, even though the researchers involved didn't knot it at the time. High-energy neutrinos, the target that IceCube was seeking, weren't showing up as had been hoped, but it turns out that there were quite a few (nearly 30 already, with 2013's data still being recorded) in the three years that the detector has been operating — they just weren't obvious until the data was combed for it. "Most of the 28 high-energy neutrinos so far detected originate from parts of the night sky that don’t include the Milky Way, making it quite likely that they are arriving from a distant source. There are still too few neutrinos to make any specific conclusions about AGNs or gamma-ray bursts, but the IceCube team will continue gathering new data."

    Good:

    At Least 28 High-Energy Neutrinos Detected by IceCube
    From Wired ( http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/11/icecube-neutrinos-detected/ [wired.com] )

    The high-energy neutrino detector IceCube ( http://icecube.wisc.edu/ [wisc.edu] ) has detected at least 28 high-energy neutrinos in the past 3 years. Until recently, this number was thought to be zero.

    The quote from an unknown person is useless because it doesn't tell us what high-energy neutrinos are, why they didn't know about the 28 detections until now, or what AGNs are.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Fortunately, links are provided and we can go off and read. More will undoubtably be in the paper (when published)

      Icecube is pretty neat, too. I've been to a lecture on a similar type observatory, which is used to detect rays, their direction and wavelength which precede visible light of stellar events (such as novae).

    • "The quote from an unknown person is useless because it doesn't tell us what high-energy neutrinos are, why they didn't know about the 28 detections until now, or what AGNs are."

      AGNs? OMFG. Are we going to be inundated with reports about Anthropogenic Global Neutrinos now?

    • by oldhack (1037484)

      Is Slashdot powered by Mechanical Turk?

      Maybe "timothy" is a Turk, but I don't mean to insult the Turks (mechanical or otherwise).

      Anyways, the neutrinos are likely from distance sources, so no indirect confirmation of dark matter, eh?

    • As this is the only halfway serious post, I'll ask my question here.

      "Most of the 28 high-energy neutrinos so far detected originate from parts of the night sky that don’t include the Milky Way, making it quite likely that they are arriving from a distant source.

      Since neutrinos can pretty much zip through the entire planet unimpeded, they could enter Ice Cube from any angle at any time. So, how do they know which part of the sky the detected neutrinos are coming from?

      • by dmitrygr (736758)
        Same way that you could tell which direction he was coming from if invisible man bumped into you at 100mph... (seriously)
        • by fatphil (181876)
          Can a snooker ball detect what velocity (and hence direction) the cue ball hit it with?
      • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:31PM (#45486977)
        The project consists of a huge 3D grid of light detectors in ice, such that when any high energy particle hits something in the ice, it creates a spray of particles, which also creates a spray of photons from Cerenkov radiation. At the basic level, you can think of conservation of momentum meaning most of the spray needs to be going in the direction of the incoming particle. So they can see which way all of the secondary particles are going and tell with pretty good accuracy which way the original particle came from. Really good timing measurements also gives some time of flight info helping pin point the direction. The shape and type of spray of particles really narrows down what type of particle they are seeing, although neutrinos are most obvious when they are coming upward having traveling through the Earth which would block other kinds of cosmic rays.
        • ...neutrinos are most obvious when they are coming upward having traveling through the Earth which would block other kinds of cosmic rays.

          [Lightbulb]Riiiight![/Lightbulb] I was picturing the Earth blocking the neutrinos, so the directionality of IceCube would be skyward. I never thought of looking at it the other way, with the Earth filtering everything else out and the directionality being downward.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            IceCube can distinguish neutrinos going in either direction, and resolve directionality in addition to energy by careful modeling of what type of sprays of stuff different particles hitting ice would make. But at the lower energies, it can be difficult to separate neutrinos that are from space and ones that are from cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere. Separating those out is where using the Earth as a filter really helps out. Not so much as a filter actually, but as just a simple spacer when you consider
      • A bit more clearly (but yeah, dmitrygr said it all), when a neutrino hits an atom it leaves a trail of light with a nonzero length.

        • A bit more clearly (but yeah, dmitrygr said it all), when a neutrino hits an atom it leaves a trail of light with a nonzero length.

          A trail of light? I was picturing just a flash of light, a single, pinpoint flash. That's why I was wondering how it could detect direction.

          • Yep, there is a trail, or (as somebody else already said) more specifically a tree, with all branches nearly parallel.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      It was really easy-e, they were Neutrinos With Attitudes.


  • ... undeniable evidence that Earth is 6,000 years old and Noah had baby dinosaurs on the Ark.
  • N-ice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @07:01PM (#45485935)

    Nice to see another big science project providing results. The data from all these recent big experiments should be quite helpful in winnowing out some theories. It looks some supersymmetry theories appear inconsistent with the data being seen. Things seem to be resolving towards the standard model, and yet it has problems. Interesting times ahead I'm sure.

    Electron Shape Measurement, Most Precise Yet, Rules Out New Physics Theories [nature.com]
    Observation of micro–macro entanglement of light [nature.com]

  • I bet Brian May could help Icecube. They should collaborate.

  • BBT (Score:1, Troll)

    by ruiner13 (527499)
    I hope Howard, Leonard, and Rajesh didn't just mess up Sheldon's experiment...
    • by Dishwasha (125561)

      How dare you associate Sheldon with such an imbecilic experiment. Sheldon and any other mathematician worth his weight had ALREADY proven the existence of high speed neutrinos. I takes a pack of idiots to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to "prove" something when we had already done so YEARS ago.

  • by goldaryn (834427) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @07:07PM (#45485969) Homepage
    You'd have thought someone would've thought to check the results?

    Anyway, I bet they're glad; after 3 fruitless years, the project must have been on the rocks.



    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH
    • Actually, I think it's on the knots

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The project was far from fruitless over the last three years, as it is capable of detecting a wide variety of cosmic rays, and had many results from not so high energy neutrinos. The high energy neutrinos is the new part here
  • 28 high-energy neutrinos, great! Nuclear submarines can now communicate at faster rates than 1 bit/s while deep under water without raising an antenna wire to the surface!

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2012/mar/19/neutrino-based-communication-is-a-first [physicsworld.com]

  • by Gherald (682277) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @07:43PM (#45486259) Journal

    In 2005 I was a sysadmin at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. Biggest project I worked on was porting RS 485 serial drivers from a legacy unix system to Linux 2.6 and setting up the HP rack servers which we then shipped down to the pole from New Zealand on a C-130 Hercules. Also, I built a data visualization system in python+django which ran over a 1km-long DSL network between the drilling site and the south pole base. Never got to down there myself (my FTE boss did), but it was a fun project for a student and looks good on the resume and all. Did I mention SSH connections over satellite to Antarctica are pretty slow?

    • How slow, and how good was the connection?
      • The python was slow.

      • Around 1 mbps, but with *huge* round-trip times (over 1000 ms). Additionally, geosync sats are below the horizon (their coverage is only from ~80N-80S and nobody else in the world lives between 80-90), so they have to use deprecated sats that aren't in the "groove" anymore, Iridium sats, and NASA's TDRSS network. Those old sats and the TDRSS birds are only above the horizon for a few hours at a time, but Iridium is a full constellation, providing 24/7 coverage. The costs are such that Iridium is used for

    • by owlstead (636356)

      Yes, you did...

    • 4 years before that I often dealt with the Chatham islanders who could only get 9600bps via satellite/dialup how does that link compare? I would bet Antarctica was/is far better with all the sciency stuff happening down there. actually quite interested to hear what the Chathams link is like these days if any /.er's know
    • by torsmo (1301691)
      How different is IceCube from the Kamioka experiments (past, current and future)?
  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @10:29PM (#45487345)

    You would never know, reading the original article, that neutrinos were detected from SuperNova 1987A [wikipedia.org] back in, well, 1987.

    • Yeah but they were from, like, the next galaxy over.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Supernovas (and the sun) produce neutrinos with energies around 10^7 electron-Volts. The neutrinos detected by IceCube are around 10^15 electron-Volts. They're as different as radio waves (wavelength > 1 m) and x-rays (wavelength 10^-8 m).

      These high-energy neutrinos can't possibly be produced by supernovas, so they must come from something else - like cosmic rays being accelerated in active galactic nuclei (the "AGNs" mentioned in the summary).

  • So... are we living in the matrix [discovermagazine.com] or what?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      that's a load of new age bullshit.

      tmost major religions would lead you to believe something along those lines and the article makes wonderful assumptions that the universe the simulation is running in is like this supposedly simulated universe, that they would have had to take shortcuts and those shortcuts would be possible to notice - and notice without them altering noticing them - and taken to that direction why make an assumption that the world outside the room you're not in is running at all when you'r

  • I havent heard of kids detecting neutrinos for a science fair project yet.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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